Building the Nest

Building the Nest


The AMS Student Nest will be a unique destination that serves as a dynamic gathering place for students to interact and grow a vibrant student community on the UBC Vancouver campus. Located on University Square, this outstanding facility will feature the highest levels of sustainable building design and an innovative student driven decision making process that will serve as a model for future developments on UBC and around the world.

Project Goals

The Project Committee identified 10 goals that the AMS Student Nest will aim to enhance:

  1. Governance and the civic community on UBC campus;
  2. Student Empowerment by providing opportunities for student take on leadership roles;
  3. Advocacy for student issues and concerns to improve the student experience on campus;
  4. Services that fulfill student needs (nutritional, cultural, political, academic, recreational, and spiritual);
  5. Community by creating more opportunities for student interaction and engagement;
  6. Student development by providing more opportunities for skill building and work experience;
  7. Institutional development by furthering the UBC’s goals of providing a world-class education and experience;
  8. Environmental sustainability by reducing the energy and materials consumed in the building and operation;
  9. Economic sustainability by providing entrepreneurship opportunities for students and expanding the AMS business;
  10. Diversity of users by addressing the needs of the current student body and anticipating the needs of the future student body.

Project History

The current Student Union Building was built over 40 years ago and has since become the most heavily used building on UBC campus. Due to the growth in the student population over the years, the current SUB facilities are rapidly becoming insufficient to meet the demands of the 50,000-strong student population. Seeing the students’ needs were not sufficiently being met, the AMS formed the SUB Renewal Committee in the July 2007 to look into options for upgrading the Student Union Building to match the current and projected student growing and evolving needs. That fall the SUB Renewal Committee hired Canon Design to act as renovation consultants. Their goal was to evaluate the needs of the students and to determine the cost options for renovation. After consultation with the student community and design professionals, Canon released its Consultation Summary Report that outlined the requirements for an upgraded structure and three options:

  1. Full renovation of the existing SUB;
  2. Part renovation and part expansion into University Square;
  3. A new building on University Square.

The cost for each option was roughly the same. After reviewing the options, the AMS Council unanimously approved option three. Funding for the project was secured through a student referendum held in April 2008 that allowed an incremental increase in student fees to raise the $80 million needed for the project.

After the referendum passed, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was negotiated with UBC, which finalized the budget up to $110 million. With the budget in place, the AMS was able to move forward and develop the detailed program and design for the New SUB Project. The AMS proceeded to complete a set of legal documents with UBC.

After lengthy negotiations with UBC, the AMS and UBC finally signed a set of agreements on April 3oth 2010. On July 14th, 2010, the AMS appointed HBBH+BH, now Dialog + BH, as the building architects.